At the beginning my book and I had lots of troubles to become friends, but every beginning is hard. In the end I learned a lot and developed a better understanding for old books.
What problems did you encounter in making friends with your book? What surprised you about this experience?
First problems emerged as I tried to procure an online as well as a printed version of first edition. The research was difficult, there are many versions of the book and they are ordered differently in each catalog. The first library I went to didn’t have the book. It is quite complicated for people who are used to small libraries in small towns to find their way in the bustle of Zürichs libraries. I asked for help at the ETH library desk, but they couldn’t help me. I tried again a couple days later hoping another librarian would be at the desk. This time I was lucky, got the book, but it wasn’t the first edition. I decided to do some more research myself if the librarians are not able to help me. The first edition is stored in ETH Zentrumsbibliothek. With excitement I went there, but my enthusiasm quickly faded away when the librarian told me I am not allowed to see or touch the book, not even in the reading room. Apparently, readers need permission for certain books. With frustration I applied for it. When I finally got to see my book, I discovered to my surprise that half of the pages included very impressive engravings. This book is a piece of art. However, it is really tough to read the descriptions of the images, it took me a long time to decipher the old German letters. More problems emerged with task 4. The software couldn’t read old German and even if, the google translation was terrible. After a lot of research, I found a newer edition in English and modern letter. But this online edition is only available for people who have an English, Canadian or American university login. Luckily, I could get access to an online version through personal connections.
What have you learned from your book?
Through the whole course my interest for old books grew. I found many webpages about literature and I learned more about how library systems work, especially in Zürich. In general, I think I have a better understanding for books and see their value as important resource beside the internet.
The visit to Einsiedeln was amazing! I enjoy and appreciate old books especially if background information is easily available and if I can listen to a talk where the book is been discussed or if I can read an interpretation or a summary with modern letters. I would like to mention at this point that I tried my best to complete the different tasks even if reading, researching and writing has always been difficult for me and more time consuming than for other people because of my dyslexia.
I still don’t know as much about my friend and the author as I would like to but unfortunately, it has been very difficult so far to find the information I needed to accomplish the tasks, or to get information I am personally interested to know. May I be using the wrong technique, or my book is simply not very popular in the internet. Therefore, I would probably not put the effort in myself if it wasn’t for a task. Usually I find information about anything I like to know way easier and faster which contributes to an efficient learning process and is more pleasant at the same time.